Claydon FC

Claydon FC

We welcomed Achilles to the Circle this past weekend in a much-anticipated match. We are very fortunate that we have our dedicated groundsman Tony Adams looking after the pitch for us, as once again it was in outstanding condition, which contributed to what turned out to be a decent game. A large crowd gathered for a game which saw last season’s Division 1 Champions face last season’s Senior Champions. Following the disappointing result last week against FHU, we welcomed back Fat Messi (aka Chaplin) into the starting 11 as our only change with Mackie dropping to the bench with Johnson, Webb and Johnson.

We viewed the Achilles starting 11 and bench and decided to avoid any conversation pre-match about them as ultimately, they were quality and we needed to play well. I have to say that after an initial evenly contested opening, we began to look the more assured and created chances. We were playing some nice football and getting stuck in, as required in such games. We took the lead when Rudge beat the full back and blasted the ball across the face of goal, via the post, where it was turned in by Achilles other full back. A short while later, we mad it 2-0 when Knock’s freekick took a touch on the edge of the box, before evading everyone except Chaplin, who calmly headed it past the keeper. There were several pivotal moments in the first half, which I’ll mention shortly, but one of them was when Parsons found himself with only the keeper to beat 6yds out but was thwarted by a smart save to prevent us going 3-0 up. Achilles were playing well but weren’t getting too much change out of Crane and Moore, who were excellent all afternoon. However, they pulled one back when a quick freekick lead to a penalty, which Hillyard smashed home. As advised, there were other significant moments in the first half, one being Achilles having a goal chalked of for offside; it’s hard to be certain, but looking at the run made, I don’t think Grimwood was off. The other was an absolute stonewall penalty that should’ve been given to us when Rudge was scythed down. However, that’s football and we came in 2-1 up at HT. The second half saw the game turn on a second booking, resulting in a sending off for an Achilles player. I have to say, that from there, Achilles showed their strength and class by totally battering us, despite their one-man disadvantage. For 20mins or so they laid siege on our goal and we struggled to cope. They equalised during this spell when Grimwood shot through a crowded box and the ball slipped through our keeper’s legs. They then pushed and were awarded another penalty, which Hillyard confidently dispatched. At this stage, we feared we’d blown our chance to take anything, but following a double change that saw Lapworth and Mackie come on to stem the tide, Mackie picked out Knock with a brilliant ball that he controlled and laid across the box, where it was turned in by a defender for an equaliser. That ended up being that, with our equaliser taking some of the wind out of Achilles’ sails as the game was played out finishing in an entertaining 3-3 draw.

I am grateful for Luke Hillyard’s kind words post-match as we both reflected on our team’s chances to win the game, but a draw was probably a fair result. Sure, the game was competitive, with some hefty challenges from both sides, but I saw two teams committed to the game and gracious and sporting afterwards. I felt our lot showed great character to deal with the disappointment of being 2-0 up, to being 3-2 down to grab an equaliser when Achilles were enjoying a sustained period of dominance. The whole team played well, with worthy mentions to Rudge for his performance up top, backed up by our midfield 3 of Parsons, Gibson and Woodhouse who were all excellent, however for me Crane and Moore were superb throughout against a strong attacking Achilles line up. We must sustain that level of performance going forward, because if we do, we could do alright. All the best to Achilles, who will take some stopping from retaining the Senior title.

Our A team played their second game of the season and came away from Hope Church very unlucky to have not taken anything, losing 4-3. On an absolutely terrible pitch they created numerous chances, but Hope Church were more clinical on the day. Scorers were Vipond and Moye with two. The As go again this weekend with another tough game against Occold. The reserves return to action away to Cops, whilst the first team welcome Grundisburgh to the Circle.
KK

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Posted: Tuesday, September 11 2018 by Richard Kennedy

The views expressed in club/league notes are not necessarily those of Archant Suffolk

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